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Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Scots couple who have lost six babies hope surrogate mum can help them have a family
A COUPLE who have lost six babies are hoping a surrogate mum can help them have a family.
Jina McPhee, 28, suffered the deaths of two daughters, when they were just 13 days and three years old, miscarried twins and had two stillbirths – all within eight years.
It was only after her sixth child was stillborn that doctors realised she has a rare condition that means she’ll never be able to carry a baby to full term.
They suggested surrogacy would be the best option for her and husband Tam, 31. But it’s only now, three years on, that they feel able to take that step.
Jina, from Livingston, said: “We’re desperate to have a family. I would give anything to be a mum again and Tam is such a good dad.”
The couple have been together since Jina was 16 and she first became pregnant a year later.
She said: “I had severe sickness all the way through my pregnancy but I felt I wasn’t being taken seriously when I went to the doctor because I was so young.
“When Krystal was stillborn the doctors said it was nature, just one of those things, but I was devastated.”
Just a few months later, Jina learned she was expecting twins. But again she became ill and lost them at 12 weeks.
She said: “It was horrible. My experience was very much like the recent EastEnders miscarriage storyline.
“Friends and family texted me to tell me not to watch it, but I’m just glad the issue was put out there for people to learn about.”
For the next year, Jina and Tam grieved and tried to get their lives back together. Then, in 2006, she became pregnant a third time.
She said: “I was really sick but I was told I was just one of those people who got ill during pregnancy.
“Then I had to give birth early – at 26 weeks – by emergency caesarean.”
Karmelle weighed only 410g and the doctor told the shattered parents not to expect much.
Jina said: “We were heartbroken but she seemed intent on defying doctors’ predictions and fought so hard.
“After four months, we were told she was severely brain damaged and life expectancy was short. We were allowed to take her home two months later.
“Doctors couldn’t believe she was still alive, it went against everything medical books suggested.
“I was so proud of her and she was just the best. Her wee personality kept us going.”
Karmelle died in November 2009 but had a lasting effect on her parents’ lives.
Jina said: “She really taught us about disabilities and, after she passed away, we both decided we wanted to work with disabled people. I went to college to study learning disability nursing and Tam started working with Enable.”
About a year after Karmelle’s passing, Jina became pregnant with Ruby.
She said: “I wasn’t half as ill this time and was receiving closer attention from the hospital.
“But then I couldn’t feel her moving and I was rushed in for another emergency caesarean at 27 weeks.
“We were so happy to be told she didn’t have brain damage but then she had an episode and her bowel burst, which turned to septicaemia. She died two days later.”
For Jina’s sixth pregnancy, doctors put her on a high dose of steroids. But three weeks after they stopped the treatment at 20 weeks, Murray was stillborn.
After doing test on the placenta, they finally discovered that Jina had a rare condition that is untreatable and gets worse with every pregnancy.
She said: “My eggs are fine but my body fights against being pregnant. In hindsight, it would have been good to find out after the first pregnancy but then we would never have had Karmelle, and she brought so much to our lives.”
It’s taken a while for Jina and Tam to feel comfortable about going down the surrogacy route, but they finally feel ready to make that step.
Jina, who is due to start working at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital this month, said: “There’s an organisation called Surrogacy UK, who can match us with a surrogate.
“We set up a fundraising page more in hope than anything else but the response has been unbelievable.”
The couple have already raised more than £5500 but expenses can range from £8000 to £15,000.